Details on the Knitted Farm Play Rug

Since there were some questions about the play rug I made for my kids, I thought I would go into a little more detail in a separate post.

I lucked into a copy of Jan Messent’s Knit a Fantasy Story last year at a rummage sale. Since then I’ve seen these farm rugs in Waldorf blogs and other websites. I used the general concept from the book, with my own changes (because I seem to be unable to follow a pattern of any kind and must make half of it up as I go along). I didn’t use a pattern, but simply took the general idea from the book and drew freeform shapes on the canvas.

The base of the rug is latch hook canvas. I did a little latch hooking (the yellow “wheat” at the top left and the bluish bushes at bottom right), but that became overly time-consuming, so I switched to embroidery/needlepoint (not sure what to call it really since it’s such a mashup) and crochet. I gauged the size of the crocheted areas by eye, and sewed the completed shapes onto the canvas.

The pond and the dark brown “pigsty” at the upper left are pieces of felt sewn onto the canvas base. Actually SillyBilly sewed on the brown felt himself! (This was a gift for the kids, but not really a surprise gift. Over the last year, every once in a while he would remember it and ask me when I was going to finish.) The stream is embroidered yarn, and the tiny brown turtle island in the pond is a small crocheted disk.

I made the vegetable garden with freeform crocheted “cabbages” and “leeks, lettuce, and celery” made from bits of ribbon sewn on in strips or loops. In a similar freeform manner, I crocheted the little berry bush by the pond with green yarn, and then knotted on red yarn for berries.

The big gray and white area on the lower left is supposed to be a cobblestone farmyard. I haven’t gotten around to making any farm buildings yet like the ones in the book.

After I completed the scene I bound the whole thing with rug binding, and sewed a piece of lightweight denim onto the back. I then embroidered “For D + R By Mama 2007” on the back. (D + R being code for SillyBilly and Napoleona, of course.)

I have an idea for making trees, which is the main thing I think this lacks. (You might be able to see the side of a wooden evergreen tree at the upper right, surrounded by wooden forest animals.) The idea given in the book for using a toilet paper roll insert and a pompom top to make a tree just sounds too flimsy and top heavy.

Amazingly, now that it’s done it seems too small, even though it seemed enormous while I was making it. Maybe we just have too many animal figures! But the kids really seem to like it, and I’m glad they’re playing with their animals again after they went out of favor for so long.

Of course, what I really want to do is make the knitted castle on the cover of the book! But I have the feeling that’s a very long term goal. I’m a much slower knitter than crocheter, and it seems like knitting would be better for the smooth castle walls.

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10 Comments

Filed under Crafting, waldorf toys

10 responses to “Details on the Knitted Farm Play Rug

  1. Malyvacsiga

    Thanks! My older boys just saw me reading this (and the Notquitecrunchy-blog) and were amazed. I told them, that maybe in a year or two this would be a good family project: the two of them (and by that time maybe eve nAbby?!) and I could make one for Timothy. They are VERY excited, thanks again. (BTW, I can’t knit. It has been shown to me a hundred times, then I can do it, but the next day I can’t remember diddly. I can crochet and do some embroidery (and make dolls), but knitting- no way. So I NEED my kids’ help with this rug, HARHAR!)

  2. Oh, this is so nifty Henitsirk! I’m sure your children just love it, and will for years.

  3. I would have loved this when I was a kid. We had hours of fun with our toy farm. I wish I had your talent, this rug is a million times better than anything I’ve seen in the shops. I’ve got a road rug for Kiko but he’s only just getting the idea of using it.

  4. Szilvi, that’s a wonderful idea to have your boys help make one. I found crochet to be just fine for this project, and perhaps even better than knitting for the texture. I wonder about your knitting block…perhaps if you had someone sit with you over a few days? Or maybe you just carry on with the other handwork and let your kids do the knitting! (I understand Hungary is known for its wonderful traditional crafts–do you do straw work in the autumn?)

    HMH: thanks!

    Helen: I had a little Fisher Price barn with animals that I loved. I think kids just like farms in general! And thank you…I think these handmade ones are better in some ways than the store-bought ones, though maybe the road rugs (the printed carpet ones) are better for car play since they’re flat.

  5. I think this is fabulous! I’m sure your kids love it.

  6. Oh cool! your’s is beautiful! I did mine as part of the Waldorf playgroup…which was a bit easier since I had encouragement.

    BTW – I made a palm tree for my rug by felting a bark colored rectangle, then rolled it and sewed it together. I then did some crocheted cords and sewed them on top.

    I also did a hedgerow the same way…felting a roll and then embroidering little French knots all over.

  7. NQCP: Thanks for the hints for the trees. I was thinking about making something like the castle instructions, except instead of knitting to go over cardboard tubes, I thought I might use those little wood doll forms you can get at craft stores. Your way sounds easier! Did you sew the tree down to the mat or did you somehow weight it down so it won’t fall over?

  8. Pingback: Knitted farm | Premiervirtual

  9. Hi, i’m about to start making a farm like this with my kids – we’re very excited! but i can’t figure out how the edges are done. do you have any tips or suggestions or direction that you could share with me? thanks so much!

  10. Lizard, I sewed on rug binding (essentially a fairly thick woven ribbon) around the edges of the latch hook canvas, and then used that to sew on a piece of cloth backing, denim in this case for durability and stiffness. I did this all by hand as it seemed easier to me, but then I like hand sewing!

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